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An announcement from NUI Galway that they will be increasing their intake of students from the North of Ireland has been welcomed by SDLP MLA Dominic Bradley.

Thanks to NUI Galway you could find yourself in Quay Street in Galway this Autumn. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Thanks to NUI Galway you could find yourself in Quay Street in Galway this Autumn. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

The pilot scheme will reserve 200 places across 50 undergraduate programmes for students currently preparing their A-Levels and hoping to enter university in September 2015.

Mr Bradley said: “This scheme marks a great opportunity for A-Level students hoping to advance to higher education this autumn. There is currently a surprisingly low number of students from the North studying in the South compared to the numbers travelling to Britain to study.

“Currently the points system of the Republic’s Central Applications Office makes little allowance for those studying A-Levels. While top level students in the South may earn between 500 and 600 points, 80% of students in the North will only sit 3 A-Levels, limiting them to a maximum of 450 points. This scheme will examine a student’s 3 best A-Level results and offer places to applicants who rank highest.

“The announcement is of special significance in light of an expected reduction in the number of university spaces available in the North next year following proposed cuts in the draft budget. I commend NUI Galway for pioneering this scheme which I’m sure will prove successful and mutually beneficial. I hope it will inspire other institutions in the South to examine the allowances that they make for A-Level students who would jump at the chance to continue their education in Ireland.”

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